Saving Mr. Banks [2013] ★★★

Saving-Mr.-Banks-Movie-PosterIf you love movies, “Saving Mr. Banks” is hard to resist. It paints an evocative picture of Hollywood and the methodology of filmmaking, circa 1961, while offering juicy roles to Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks, two of the finest actors of their generation. It has a different flavor from most movies I’ve seen in 2013, and it’s delightful, at least for any diehard movie buff. Just imagine stepping into a time machine, traveling back to 1961 and getting to eavesdrop on Pamela Travers and Walt Disney during the production of “Mary Poppins”. That’s exactly what we do here and I couldn’t have asked for a better result. Director Lee Hancock uses flashbacks to tell the story of Traver’s childhood in Australia. We learn more about her relationship with her loving but irresponsible father (Colin Farrell, surprisingly good) that shaped her personality and inspired her to create her Mary Poppins character. The physical recreation of the period, especially as it relates to moviemaking at Walt Disney studios, is impeccable.In addition, the supporting cast is exceptionally fine and includes Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford and Paul Giamatti.But what matters the most is that “Saving Mr. Banks” manages to pay tribute to a classic movie, a great writer and a man who had faith in his own idea even when things didn’t look so well. Those qualities are rooted in truth and give the movie its irresistible charm. Walt Disney himself would have been proud.

Rating: 3/4

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